Unfolds facts – Ibuprofen hurts during exercise


Ibuprofen is generally considered as a name of relief from pain when we are injured.  Ibuprofen (Advil) is an analgesic drug which is commonly consumed to reduce or prevent the pain and soreness.  In fact, it has been reported that almost 5.5 million people in the United States consume an analgesic, antipyretic, or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) each day. You will be amazed to know that taking NSAID has become a ritual for a lot of athletes.  They use NSAIDs before and, in most case, at regular intervals throughout the sports. They put on their uniform or pull on their running shoes and pop a few Advil. “It’s like candy” or Vitamin I, as some athletes refer to ibuprofen.


advilNSAID are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. These include aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil and Motrin), naproxen sodium (Aleve), and ketoprofen (Orudis KT).  Recent research published in New York Times revealed that having painkillers like ibuprofen during and/ or before exercise increases risk of various adverse effects in the athletes.


Excessive use of NSAIDs (Ibuprofen) during sports

ibuprofenA study was conducted by David Nieman for racers at the Western States Endurance Run, a 100-mile test of human stamina held annually in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California. The result showed that Seven out of ten runners were using ibuprofen before and, in most cases, at regular intervals throughout the race.


Another study published on the website of the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that at the 2008 Ironman Triathlon in Brazil, almost 60 percent of the racers reported using non-steroidal anti-inflammatory painkillers (or NSAIDs, which include ibuprofen)


A study of professional Italian soccer players found that 86 percent used anti-inflammatory drugs during the 2002-2003 soccer seasons.


medicinesWhy are so many athletes swallowing so many painkillers?

One of the most common reasons is “pain prevention.”  Athletes think ibuprofen would get them through the pain and discomfort of the race and would prevent soreness afterward. 


What are the physiological effects of NSAIDS on Athletes? joint-pain

NSAIDs work by inhibiting the production of...

prostaglandins, a substance that is involved in pain and also in the creation of collagen.  Collagen is the building block of most tissues and required for healthy bone joints. So less synthesis of prostaglandins means less collagen, which inhibits the healing of tissue and bone injuries.


The latest research into the physiological effects of ibuprofen and other NSAIDs before and during the race displayed: kidneys

    • Drugs did not lessen people’s perception of pain during activity or decrease muscle soreness later, in fact, have the opposite effect.
    • NSAIDs actually delay and hamper the healing of injured muscles, tendons, ligament, and bones.
    • Significantly more inflammation and other markers of high immune system response afterward than the runners who hadn’t taken anti-inflammatories.
    • Showed signs of mild kidney impairment
    • Showed low-level endotoxemia, a condition in which bacteria leak from the colon into the bloodstream  


 The Bottom Line on NSAID use during sports 

athleteAccording to various researches, ibuprofen use by endurance athletes did not affect performance, muscle damage or perceived soreness, but it was associated with elevated indicators of inflammation and cell damage. It’s a rational assumption that using NSAIDs has no positive effect on sports performance. It may, in fact, cause a serious health risk in some endurance athletes. 


In my view any medication either it is a pain reliever or for other relief is always associated with various side affects that pose serious health risk, if taken on regular basis.  Once you are in habit of consuming medicines, it is difficult to get rid of them.  Sometimes doctors prescribe medicines to subside the side effect of other medicine.  Always keep in mind medicines should be used in moderate amount and these cannot be treated as candy!



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